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Odyssey travels by coach and occasionally uses local transport, including trains and ferries. Specifics are always outlined in your tour itinerary. OThe most popular public transport in Oman are the ‘Baiza’ buses, which can be flagged down frm anywhere and cheap. Taxis are widely available. There is no railway network in Oman
In major cities, Odyssey stays in centrally located 3-4 star hotels, with easy access to public transport. In smaller towns or rural areas, we usually stay in family-run hotels or guesthouses. On our longstay tours, during which you spend the length of the tour in a single location, we use serviced apartments.
Odyssey always engages local guides with regional knowledge to ensure an authentic experience during which you can learn as much as possible about the history and culture of places you visit.
Geography, environment and weather
Oman borders the Arabian Sea, the Gulf of Oman, and the Persian Gulf, and has land boundaries with Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and the United Arab Emirates
The climate is dry and hot in the interior desert, hot and humid in summer in the coastal area, and moderate in winter. Oman has a desert climate with an average annual rainfall of 50-100millimeters (higher in mountain ranges). Summer winds in sandy desert areas can cause heavy sand and dust storms. There are periodic droughts and periods of heavy rainfall, which can cause temporary floods.
World Heritage sites
Oman has 5 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. You can view the official list of the sites here http://whc.unesco.org/en/statesparties/OM. It is well worth visiting every site, if you are able. But here’s a few highlights from the bunch:
Ancient City of Qalhat, a city developed as a major port on the east coast of Arabia between the 11th and 15th centuries CE, during the reign of the Hormuz princes.
Bahla Fort, ruins of the immense fort, with its walls and towers of unbaked brick and its stone foundations, is a remarkable example of this type of fortification and attests to the power of the Banu Nebhan.
Festivals & Events
Oman’ biggest festival is the Muscat Festival, a month long celebration, which showcases the Omani culture and heritage through art forms and various activities. Salalah Tourism Festival occurs during the wet monsoon season of Oman. The festival hosts beautiful artistic as well as cultural shows, with a mix of international programs for international tourists who come to enjoy the festival. Th emost important religious festival is the muslim festival ‘Eid al-Fitr’.
A History of modern Oman by Jeremy Jones, Nicholas Ridout
Arabian Sands by Wilfred Thesiger In the Time of Oil: Piety, Memory, and Social Life in an Omani Town by Mandana Limbert Oman: Under Arabian Skies by Rory Patrick Allen and Alan Pelz-Sharpe
Eating & Drinking
Kahwa is the national drink of Oman, is an Arabian version of black coffee. It is bitter, so often served with Omani dates. Kahwa is traditionally offered as a welcome drink in Oman, at any time of day. Harees is a type of savory, thick porridge, vegetarian and made with crushed red and brown lentils popular to dip a pita in (Arabian bread ). Oman is most famous for its kabuli – aromatic basmati rice flavored with a masala, or ground spice mix, that includes cardamom, cloves, and cinnamon, and is served with fried onions. After kabouli, the next most important dish in Oman is shuwa— grilled lamb.
Health and Safety
Generally speaking, Croatia is safe to travel in, though always exercise common sense while travelling
Whenever you travel overseas, it’s always wise to take an appropriate travel adaptor. The electricity supply runs at 240V, 50Hz. Oman power plugs are type G, the same as in Britain.
Oman has a single time zone, the Gulf standard time. The nation does not observe day light saving.
If you’re on an Odyssey tour, we take care of tipping so you don’t need to give it a second thought. However, in your free time, or if travelling independently, it’s essential that you make sure you tip an appropriate amount for services, as is the case throughout much of Europe. It’s customary to tip 10% of the bill at restaurants It’s polite to round to the next rial when giving change or when buying drinks.
Internet access is easily accessible, and most hotels and many cafes will be able to offer it.
Check with your cell phone provider to see whether you’re able to make calls and use data while in Oman. Many providers will offer a daily fee that allows you to make calls and check the internet while only being charged your regular rates. However, be certain to inform your provider that you’re heading overseas, because just like a bank they can turn off your service as a result of unusual activity.
Responsible travel tips for Oman
- Learn at least the local greetings to break the ice. Although many locals speak English, the more you know of the native language, the greater your experience of the country will be.
- Carry a business card in your wallet or purse from your local hotel, to assist you with the return journey if you do become lost.
- Always ensure that you are covered by travel insurance. If you need advice on this feel free to contact Odyssey and we’ll be able to help.
- When travelling independently, make sure you check the opening hours of shops and museums so that you don’t miss out! Museums and galleries are often closed on Mondays. Also be certain to check whether your trip coincides with any public holidays, so you can plan accordingly.
- Consider contacting your bank to inform them that you may be making purchases overseas. Otherwise, they may flag any activity on your account as suspicious. Also, check which ATMs and banks are compatible with your cards, to ensure you can withdraw cash with minimal fees.
- Before departing, make sure you have a number of Rial in a range of denominations. You don’t want to be carrying around enormous amounts of cash, but take enough to make it easy to pay in locations that might not accept credit card. It will also help you avoid card transaction fees, and it makes tipping a breeze.